Blues Insurers Win Antitrust Case In Mich., See Profits Increase 20% In Minn.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Michigan won a hospital pricing antitrust case. In Minnesota, nonprofit insurer UCare prepares to return $8 million to the state, while Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota's profit rose 20 percent in 2011.
Modern Healthcare: Michigan Blues Wins One Antitrust Case
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan and 22 hospitals have successfully fought off an antitrust lawsuit from the city of Pontiac, Mich., in one of several pending cases that allege a pattern of anticompetitive activity that mirrors allegations in an ongoing federal lawsuit against the state's dominant insurer. At issue are two types of "most-favored nation" pricing contracts used by Blue Cross that require competing insurance companies to pay at least as much, and sometimes more, than the prices Blue Cross receives in exchange for bringing its volume of business to the health care providers (Carlson, 4/2).
(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: HMO Profits Cap Means Nearly $8 Million For Minnesota
A cap on HMO profits instituted in Minnesota last year will generate about $8 million for state government, a number that could grow. That's the early conclusion from filings being submitted to regulators this week by the state's nonprofit health plans. In a filing Monday, April 2, Minneapolis-based UCare said it expects to return $7,977,270 million to the state, a sum that represents the amount of excess earnings that UCare received last year through its contracts with Minnesota (Snowbeck, 4/2).
(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Blue Cross Profit Up 20% In 2011; Reserves At $1.15 Billion
Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota saw its profit grow by just over 20 percent in 2011 as financial reserves at the state's largest health insurer grew to $1.15 billion. Most of the profit and reserves came from the company's commercial health insurance business, Blue Cross officials said in a regulatory filing Monday, April 2. As has been true for other commercial insurers, the strong financial results were driven in part by depressed use of health care services, the company said (Snowbeck, 4/2).
In the meantime, the Oregon Insurance Division has approved a rate increase for Providence Health Plans.
The Lund Report (an Oregon news service): Insurance Division Approves 2.2 Percent Rate Increase for Providence
Small employers who have coverage through Providence Health Plans will see their rates climb, on average, by 2.2 percent starting August 1. The rate hike will impact about 30,000 people over nine months ... Initially, Providence had requested a 5 percent rate hike. However, the Insurance Division lowered that increase primarily because Providence had erroneously overstated its administrative expense costs and other expenses related to federal health reform (Lund-Muzikant, 4/2).